A MAN who was found to have grown £8500 worth of cannabis at his home in Penarth has avoided a prison sentence at Cardiff Crown Court.

Painter and decorator Jeff Lloyd, 44, grew the plants after buying seeds online and then began selling small amounts to people, the court heard (Friday, March 11).

Lloyd's operation was uncovered when police raided his King Street home at 8.40am on January 7 this yer.

There they found 14 plants growing under what was described as a "fairly professional set up", involving lighting and an air filtration system.

Police found more that 1400 grams of cannabis at the property, which held a street value of £8500.

Lloyd, who has previous convictions for production of cannabis in 1997 and for possession of cannabis in 1989 and 2000, pleaded guilty to a charge of producing cannabis at his first appearance in magistrates court.

Speaking on behalf of Lloyd, barrister Kevin Seal described his client as a "very foolish man" who became involved in distributing cannabis purely as a result of having successfully cultivated such as large of amount from the seeds he bought on Ebay.

He said that Lloyd was growing the plants for his own use and then began "selling a small amount to like minded individuals".

The judge, Recorder Richard Williams told Lloyd: "You are a middle aged man who hasn't previously been in custody and you are able to live a law abiding life.

"You pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity to this offence of being involved in the production of cannabis.

"It involved 14 plants which is a significant enough volume and if sold would have been relatively lucrative."

He gave Lloyd a six month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to carry out 200 hours unpaid work within the next 12 months.